People & Leadership

Age old pearls of wisdom that’ll boost your management potential

A friend and colleague approached me to ask that I write a blog entry on management, and how I manage my team; the techniques and tricks that I employ that help me get the job done.

Initially, I was quite apprehensive as to how to go about analysing what I do and then formulating catchy, thought-provoking pearls of wisdom for the average manager to employ.

So, I have decided to instead focus on the some of the key core beliefs that govern me as an individual, as these are the principles that I use to lead my team. These are biblical proverbs that I believe hold true and can help anyone be a better manager. I tried to narrow these down as best as I could and found it was not surprising that many of these speak directly to your own conduct as a leader.

Your own self

“One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”

Most of the people I lead are more talented than I am, and I can only be successful in my position when they are performing well. Management of the team is all about the team and very little about me or my ability.

“Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord, and false scales are not good.”

I believe that this one speaks directly to consistency as a leader. You can’t measure team members with an unequal scale. Sure, your leadership style will have to vary, but good work and issues should be dealt with in the same way.

“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.”

As a leader, one needs to remain calm and consider carefully their actions. Our words do have power and can help make or break the people that work under and with us. We should always be rational and considerate. We should understand an entire situation before we make any rash decisions.

Decision making

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”

In a management or leadership position, we need to be responsible and diligent in our duties. Acting hasty can really affect team members or technical issues in a negative way.

“Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.”

Leaders aren’t there to be the sole authority on decisions. We are typically surrounded by talented individuals who have a great deal of technical understanding, that have very relevant contributions to make in these areas.

Dealing with your team

“Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue.”

We all make mistakes. We should be working to grow ourselves and provide value to our employers. Sometimes this means that others need to point out our areas of improvement. Always telling someone they are “doing great”, will only enforce a negative behavior or cause someone to miss an opportunity to grow in experience.

“Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.”

I see my team as a high performing team. I’ve seen more stress/damage/demotivation creep in from members that are not contributing than any other factor (I believe). This proverb ties in quite well with where we started this section – sometimes “rebuke” is required in order to protect the entire team and team dynamic.

Building your team

“Like an archer who wounds everyone is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.”

I thought this was quite a good transition from the last section on dealing with your team. We take a great deal of time and effort to ensure that we hire great people. Every now and then we don’t get this 100% right. I’d advise any manager to take their time understanding what kind of person they are looking for and taking the time to find that person.

Communication with and in your team

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”

I believe that what we say (and how we say it) is really important. With each thing that we say, our integrity is at stake. As leaders (in whatever area you may be a leader), we have the power to (in some way) give life or break a spirit. Be consistent, encourage and, where it is necessary, guide or correct with grace.

“Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.”

I mentioned in my previous comment that with each thing we say, our integrity can be at stake. We should be honest with everything that we say. Especially as leaders.

About the author

Matthew Smythe, Product Engineering Manager – Sage Intelligence

Matt has been with Sage for 4 years. He holds a BSc Electronic Engineering (Hons) degree and has 10 years of working software development experience. Matt joined Sage as team lead of the Sage Intelligence Product Engineering team and is particularly proud of his team’s growth – in size, maturity and ability. Matt enjoys woodworking, archery, music and spending time with his family.

Are you a manager or someone who leads a team in your business? Let us know if you have any proverbs or quotes that help you be a better leader, in the comments below.

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